Objective— To evaluate the postoperative morbidity and long-term outcome of dogs after dorsal laminectomy for caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy (CCSM).
Study design— Retrospective study.
Sample population— Twenty dogs with CCSM.
Methods— Medical records of dogs treated by dorsal laminectomy for CCSM at North Carolina State University and Colorado State University between 1989 and 1999 were reviewed. Information on signalment, onset, progression and duration of clinical signs, diagnostic testing, sites of dorsal laminectomy, postoperative complications, length of hospitalization, and the ambulatory status on discharge was recorded. A minimum follow-up of 7 months was required for inclusion in the study. Neurologic status was graded (0 to 5) preoperatively, 2 days after surgery, and at the time of the study (final score). Improvement or worsening of the neurologic status was assessed by comparison of different scores for each dog. Additional follow-up information was obtained by means of a detailed telephone questionnaire directed at both the owner and referring veterinarian.
Results— Mean duration of clinical signs before surgery was 4.9 months. At admission, 15 dogs were ambulatory and 5 were nonambulatory. Neurologic status worsened in 70% of dogs 2 days after surgery but improved in all but 1 dog over the long term. Mean time to optimal recovery was 3.6 months. Long-term follow-up ranged from 7 months to 9 years (mean ± SD, 3.2 ± 2.4 years). Four dogs had confirmed recurrence; 2 other dogs may have had recurrence.
Conclusions— Dorsal cervical laminectomy is an effective treatment for CCSM in those dogs with dorsal compression or multiple sites of involvement.
Clinical relevance— Although most dogs' neurologic status transiently worsened after surgery, long-term outcome and recurrence rates were comparable to those seen with other surgical techniques for CCSM.